Parent-targeted home-based interventions for increasing fruit and vegetable intake in children: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Nutr Rev. 2018 Mar 1;76(3):154-173. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nux066.


Context: Parent interventions delivered in the home represent a valuable approach to improving children's diets.

Objective: This review aims to examine the effectiveness of parent-targeted in-home interventions in increasing fruit and vegetable intake in children.

Data sources: Five electronic databases were searched: MEDLINE, Embase, PubMed, CINAHL, and PsycINFO.

Study selection: Randomized and nonrandomized trials conducted in children aged 2 to 12 years and published in English from 2000 to 2016 were eligible.

Data extraction: Eighteen publications were reviewed, and 12 randomized trials were analyzed. Studies were pooled on the basis of outcome measure and type of intervention, resulting in 3 separate meta-analyses.

Results: Nutrition education interventions resulted in a small but significant increase in fruit intake (Hedges' g = 0.112; P = 0.028). Taste exposure interventions led to a significant increase in vegetable intake, with a moderate effect (Hedges' g = 0.438; P < 0.001). Interventions involving daily or weekly sessions reported positive outcomes more frequently than those using monthly sessions.

Conclusions: Future interventions should incorporate regular taste exposure to maximize increases in vegetable intake in children. This is particularly important because fewer children meet national recommendations for vegetable intake than for fruit intake.

Keywords: child; fruit; home; parent; vegetables.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Diet / psychology*
  • Eating / psychology*
  • Education, Nonprofessional / methods*
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parenting*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Vegetables